Amanda Gunawan and her team at OWIU Design studio have stayed committed to the ethos of careful craftsmanship and thoughtful execution. Their Architecture firm is made up of individuals who put this at front of mind every day, and have created their own ceramics as a byproduct of needing a creative outlet. Our conversation was a reminder about the importance of presence and inspiration in any creative endeavor, the value of teamwork, and how preserving a pure intention will always render a beautiful result.
Without further ado, OWIU Studio!
The OWIU team
Tell us about your journey! How did you guys become ceramicists?
It all started very organically. Our Architecture and Design company, OWIU Design was getting a lot of jobs during the construction boom, post-covid, and we wanted to find a way to both reward our team as well as provide an outlet for them to relieve stress. We ended up choosing to sign the entire team up for a ceramics membership at a studio nearby. It worked all too well and the team started spending all of our free time at the studio honing our crafts. Ceramics provided a fast way to channel all our creative energy, and produce something tangible and tactile. We ended up really falling in love with it. I came to my office one day and found the whole office absolutely covered in ceramics. In a furious attempt to get rid of what I deemed then as clutter, I posted photos of these pieces on instagram asking if anyone wanted them. People started wanting to purchase them, and we ended up starting a little party fund with this money. One thing led to another and the orders started growing significantly bigger until it was time to turn it into a real company and do this right (start paying taxes, essentially). Shoppe was actually one of the companies that took a leap of faith on our little hobby and gave us the commission that we needed to really kick us off so we are eternally grateful for you guys! You will always have a special place in our hearts.
What inspires your designs on a daily basis?
I take a lot of inspiration from nature. I think every human being has an inherent connection to it. I also love systems, analyzing them and breaking things down so I love reading non-fiction books a lot. I also love absorbing the culture that exists in a city- food, the way people interact, their ways of life.
What makes your work stand out to you?
The work I put out is always thoughtful. It always has a level of depth to it and is purposefully and thoughtfully done.
What does your day-to-day entail to support your company?
My weekends and weekdays pretty much look the same so there is no such thing as a work and non-work day. The good part about it is that I love my work and because it’s very much a part of the creative field, it’s become a way of life for me. I wake up early in the morning and start every morning with a meditation and then I proceed to check my phone for what run I have to do that day. I grab my dog, and we run around my neighborhood and walk back home and by this time the sun is fully up. I clean up and go to the office/go on site but before that I always grab a matcha latte from a nearby coffee shop. Sometimes its Maru Coffee in the Arts District, and sometimes its Dayglow in Silverlake. I shuffle back an forth between juggling my Architecture office, and the ceramics line. On alternate days, I drop by our ceramics studio and spend time there. I can never really run out of things to do!
Do you have any daily rituals at home that bring you solace?
I am a heavy meditator and try to do it at least once a week, preferably more if I have the time. It really helps me to recenter and refocus. Meditation helps ne to set the tone right each start and end of the day. I am also a runner and seek so much comfort in running. Running is my time alone for no one but me. One of my other favourite things to do at home is to cook myself a nice meal.
Favorite place to visit to spark inspiration?
Japan if I am allowed to travel or teleport. If I had to pick a place in Los Angeles it would be a hike somewhere, maybe a forest or a beach.
Colors or Neutrals?
Depends on the situation but I would say neutral.
One product that is always in your bag? (can be makeup, sunglasses, momento of some sort, etc.)
My film camera.
Favorite space in your home?
My meditation room.
It’s hard to choose one – but your current favorite item from your collection at Shoppe?
OWIU team enjoying a meal